RWE has taken a significant step forward in delivering its flagship Sofia Offshore Wind farm with the installation of the project’s first turbine foundation. With a capacity of 1.4 GW, Sofia, which is located on the Dogger Bank in the North Sea, is RWE’s largest offshore wind farm to date  and is expected to be commissioned in 2026,

Following the installation of the subsea cable infrastructure, this installation marks the start of offshore construction within the array itself. It is the first of 100 foundations to be installed at the 593 sq km array.

Sven Utermöhlen, CEO RWE Offshore Wind, said: “Sofia is RWE’s largest offshore wind construction project to date, and its furthest from shore. Installing the first monopile is a highly symbolic moment in the construction of every offshore wind farm. After 14 years of planning and preparation, this is a great achievement for the entire RWE team.”

Sofia Offshore Wind Farm is located 195 km from the nearest point on the UK’s north east coast, and will have a single offshore converter platform, with the electricity generated transported to landfall 220 km away in Teesside.

It will employ 100 Siemens Gamesa 14 MW wind turbines (SG 14-222 DD), said by its maker to be the most advanced offshore wind turbine technology available. A total of 44 of the project’s 100 turbines will be equipped with recyclable blades. Each turbine will be 252 m high, with a 108 metre carbon and fibreglass blades and a 222 m diameter rotor swept area of 39 000 sq m.

Operations and maintenance activities for the wind farm will be located at RWE’s new offshore wind operations base ‘Grimsby Hub’, which also supports RWE’s Triton Knoll offshore wind farm and future projects.

Van Oord, an international marine contractor, owns and operates the vessel ‘Aeolus’ that carries out the work of installing the foundations at the wind farm array.

EPCI contractor Van Oord is overseeing the foundation installation from the Port of Tyne, north-east England, which has undergone a significant upgrade in order to support this work as well as future projects of a similar scale.